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EMBARK Working the Night Shift: Promising Ridership on EMBARK’s First Months of Night Service


OKLAHOMA CITY – Two EMBARK crosstown bus routes began operating until midnight on January 26 as part of an initiative to improve public transit service. Crosstown route 23N runs east/west along NE/NW 23rd Street and route 011 runs east and west along SW 29th Street. The buses run every 25-30 minutes until 7 p.m. and hourly until midnight Monday through Friday.

In the first two months of service the two night routes have provided over 5,000 trips.

For Andre Small, night service means he can ride the bus to and from his home near 23rd Street and the Bricktown restaurant where he works. “I would take the bus to work in the late afternoon, but then I’d have to walk home when my shift ended at 11 p.m. - about four miles,” says Small. “Walking home, carrying all my tips in cash late at night didn’t feel safe. Bus service until midnight is a lifesaver.”

Others riders taking the Nightshift buses have similar stories; getting to work, going to see a friend and picking up necessities from the grocery store. For most people, the day doesn’t end at 7 p.m.

“Working the night shift at Chesapeake Arena used to mean walking nearly five miles before I even started my workday,” adds Levon Ingersoll. “That walk really took a toll on me. I was exhausted before I even started work. Now that the bus runs later, I have time and energy to get food and run errands before work, so I can relax when I get home.”

“It’s great knowing that I’m helping people get to work and school,” says operator Ed Newsome. “I’m working later so that my riders can too – I’m proud that I’m helping them get to where they need to go.”

Night service is possible because the City Council and the EMBARK Board recognize public transportation as a priority and provided $420,000 in additional funding to operate until midnight on two routes. Before, the last stops were between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“Night service is our next step in creating a transit system that works for everyone. It was highly requested by our riders and recommended by our consultants as a key service enhancement,” notes Jason Ferbrache, EMBARK Administrator. “While we’re only about eight weeks into it, we’re seeing good results and I anticipate ridership to continue to grow.”

The increased frequency and evening services are the continuation of service enhancements identified in a study conducted by an international transportation planning firm Nelson\Nygaard hired by the City of Oklahoma City and the EMBARK Board of Trustees to review and make recommendations for improving the public transit system.

In late April 2014, EMBARK launched the first phase of changes that included increased frequency of bus routes, reduced passenger wait time, reduced passenger travel time and routes that better match demand. Since the launch, ridership has increased 8%.

EMBARK is also making technology improvements which include a mobile trip planner, SMS real-time bus arrival info, and on-board Wi-Fi. Bus stop improvements are also underway and include new, more robust stop signage and the addition of 31 bus shelters.

About EMBARK

To learn more about EMBARK and view bus schedules and routes, visit www.embarkok.com or call (405) 235-RIDE (7433) for personal assistance from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. To learn more about carpooling or to be matched with someone in your area, visit www.getaroundok.com.

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Media Contact: Michael Scroggins  |  405.297.2107  |  email

 

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